Back in the day, when I was still on the radio, it became harder and harder to sneak in a record or two per show of a hot rocking artist I just discovered. The suits at the radio station, and this is how it works on most stations, were afraid for listener tune-outs.
Don’t get me wrong now! I do love all music, mainstream or independent. I do respect the classics. Sharing music is my passion! But since there are enough outlets who are covering mainstream artists, I’ve decided to devote my time to introduce you to the awesome new music that is really out there, but you won’t hear or see on mainstream radio/TV stations, because of their ‘fear’!
So when I got asked by Jon of Cyber PR if I would be interested to do an interview with TQ, I was hesitating! Interview with TQ is cool and all, but I’m covering independent artists. And come on, TQ is hardly indie, right? Big mainstream artist with numerous hits? Remember ‘Westside‘? Turns out TQ had an interesting story to tell, interesting for both fans and independent artists!
The Dutch Guy (TDG): My first question for you is… Can I borrow 20 bucks? There’s a legendary album coming out I like to get!
TQ: PAYOLA!!! LoL!
TDG: While a lot of indie artists are working hard to get their name out, to get that major record deal, I found out you went the other way. You went independent by choice! What brought you to that decision? What was the defining moment?
TQ: I’d have to say Cash Money. Baby (TDG: Bryan Williams, co-founder of Cash Money Records) let me see a lot of sh*t. I think at the time, his other artists weren’t as interested in that side of it maybe? I don’t know for sure but I’d listen to him talk sh*t about how he made this move or that one. I’m like, ‘This fool is gettin it! He’s hustlin’!’
I used to ask him questions. So when my deal was up, I just went and did the same thing he did. LoL! My fan base is way smaller but then again, I don’t need a jet or a diamond as big as a baseball. Three 49er tickets and my kids in some fresh new shoes does me fine.
TDG: Was creative freedom one of the biggest reasons?
TQ: Thaz been a fight since day one. After a while it gets tiring to not be able to get your point across the way you want… You know thaz why baby’s cry? I think it’s in our nature to need a change after a point.
TDG: Did you feel like you were held back by the labels you were signed to (Epic/Cash Money Records)? Creative clashes maybe?
TQ: People always ask me that. I just don’t feel that way. I didn’t get f**ked over man. Not like most cats that came out around that time. I wrote all my songs. I kept my publishing. I own the masters to everything I’ve ever put out, including Westside.
Think about it! I’d say Epic and Cash Money gave me a great f**kin’ job. I went into it with my paperwork right. Everybody ate.
TDG: Did the decision change you?
TQ: The issue is that now I’m completely responsible for my biz 100%. I gotta mind my profits. That causes all decisions to be biz first and creative second. I wouldn’t have it that way if it were up to me.
TDG: Going from mainstream to independent, did it ‘hurt’ your fan base?
TQ: Numbers wise definitely. Regardless there’s always somebody I can’t reach that a major label can.
TDG: Are you closer to your fans now, because you’re independent?
TQ: I’ve always been the same way with them. My original website thugpoetry.com was made by the fans. It’s a real history lesson. The message board is proof of our relationship over the years. I’m really proud of that site!
TDG: Great to see you care about the opinion of your fans, ’cause that’s something some artists tend to forget. That extra connection, besides the music. Would you say the Internet made it far more easier? Or does is also have it’s downsides?
TQ: Definitely made it easier to connect but much harder to convince them to buy being that people upload your stuff to all these torrent sites for free. It’s a new, ever-changing, ball game. Learning how to play it is a work in progress.
TDG: Would you ever be able to go back ‘mainstream’?
TQ: I don’t know if I’m built for it. Fame ain’t really my thing so much. I like the money tho. LoL!
TDG: As a radio personality, I know most radio stations doesn’t allow to ‘break in’ an artist anymore because of the fear of tune-outs. Unless, it’s hyped by a major record label! With you being Independent, are you running into the same problems as other indie artists? Like getting radio airplay or media coverage? Or is it easier for you because you’re you, the famous TQ?
TQ: Same problem as everybody else. Period! LoL
TDG: Who and/or what inspires you the most?
TQ: My kids prolly, they LOVE music! It’s crazy!
TDG: Know what you mean man, my little girl has been grooving to music since she was just a baby. You gotta love that!
TDG: What song and/or album are you most proud of?
TQ: Thaz a hard one! I’m pretty damn proud of this new one to be honest.
TDG: Why is that? What makes it extra special to you? What makes ‘Legendary‘, legendary? Paint me a picture…
TQ: It sounds f**kin’ great! LoL! Fans in the UK actually named the album. I lived in East London for a while and whenever I’d get approached on the streets, they’d be like ‘You’re a Legend man’! It kept happening. In my email, message boards, etc, the word kept coming up.
TDG: With your new album ‘Legendary‘ dropping tomorrow (Feb. 12th), what can people who haven’t heard from you in a while expect?
TQ: It’s not gonna sound like anybody else. It’s not gonna remind you of anything other than TQ.
TDG: So, it’s still the self-coined ‘Reality R&B’?
TDG: What’s the difference between ‘Legendary‘ and lets say your first album ‘They Never Saw Me Coming‘?
TQ: Oh I’m grown now man, I’m not so pissed off!
TDG: Besides dropping ‘Legendary‘, what does the future hold for 2013? (inter)National tour? Collaborations?
TQ: Yes, tour is in the works, details coming soon. And I’m always down to work so collaborations, more than likely yes.
TDG: You’re also working on ‘The Live Movement’. What’s that all about?
TQ: Aside from making records, I administer publishing for a lot of artists. Most from the 90′s and early 2000′s… You make a hit record on a major label, you leave that label and continue to make music. The masses know you from that major hit. Little do your fans know that if they’d buy your new music it’ll make you more money than your major hit made you, but because your limited indie resources you can’t get the word out.
So you have fans all over the world that don’t even know you’re making music. BUT, if those same fans hear that you’re playing
It’s a work in progress. Research tells me it’s a win/win for everyone. I guess I got a good start…
TDG: What is the one piece of advice you would give hard working aspiring indie artists, with the knowledge you have from both sides (mainstream Vs independent)?
TQ: Just know what you’re getting into and be realistic about what to expect. This is an everyday job. It can be fruitful if you built right. If you aren’t, recognize that you need to find some major help or another career. This job requires a helmet and a gun!
TDG: Before we finish up, got any last words?
TQ: Album drops tomorrow, Tuesday Feb 12th!!!